Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday Song


Saturday, July 30, 2016

We Were Not Wanted in Here - It's a Rigged System

The aftermath of the so-called Democratic National Convention......

Talking with the Kunsan Grandpas

Yesterday Ken, Will and I took the train from Pyeongtaek, South Korea two hours south for a day long tour of the perimeter of the US Kunsan Air Force Base.  Our guide and translator drove us from one end of the base to the other.  Near the end of the visit we can upon a two-story watch tower near to the base runway and discovered five village grandpas playing a card game inside the open air upper space.

After introducing ourselves as members of Veterans For Peace we requested if we could ask them some questions about the base and film their responses.  They eagerly agreed and began by telling us we had come on the wrong day (a weekend).  If we'd come during the week the noise from the US war planes would be overwhelming they said. Pointing to their ears they told us they were all hard of hearing having spent their lives living next door to the busy airfield.

The grandpas told us many villagers with access to more money had already moved away but they had no resources to move anywhere else.  Due to current base expansion new weapons storage bunkers would soon be built very close to their living areas and they would be forced to move as well.

We learned that this whole area had once been a beach community but the military had filled in much of the land to build the base right along the ocean.  They pointed to a large old tree next to their cement bird's nest that we were perched in and said the tree was 500 years old - a symbol of the long history of their once proud village.  Now they were going to be cast aside like fallen autumn leaves.

In response to a question the grandpas told us they were not happy with the noise or having to move.  But there is nothing we can do about it they declared.  Between the power of the US military, and the servile South Korean government, they stood no chance.  How could they defend themselves up against such forces?

This morning we take a three-hour bus ride back to Seoul Kimpo airport where we will catch a plane to Jeju Island.  Then for the next five days we will join the annual Gangjeong village peace walk around the beautiful 'Island of Peace'.  There we will walk with other grandmas and grandpas from a similar 500-year old fishing and farming community that has been torn apart so a Navy base could be built to host US warships that will come into the region as part of the aggressive US 'pivot' to encircle China. Some of those warships, Aegis destroyers, will have been built in my hometown of Bath, Maine.

Real lives are impacted by the Obama-Hillary Clinton created 'pivot' into the Asia-Pacific and if war ever comes as a result of this steroidal military expansion then even more lives, many more lives, will hang in the balance.


'Comfort Women' Protest in Seoul

From our Wednesday participation in the 'Comfort Women' protest in Seoul.

Video taken by VFP member Will Griffin and production work by Zoom in Korea staff in New York.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Not Everyone in Ukraine Wants War

Up to 10,000 participants of the Ukrainian Cross Procession for Peace congregated on St. Vladimir Hill and walked to the Lavra Monastery in Kiev, Wednesday, where a prayer ceremony was held.

The procession started at the opposite ends of Ukraine, with one group beginning on 3 July from the Holy Assumption Sviatohirsk Lavra in the eastern Donetsk region and the second taking off on 9 July from the Holy Assumption Pochaiv Lavra in the western Ternopil region. Both processions met in Kiev, marking the Baptism of Kievan Rus and go to the Monastery of the Caves.

Blame it on Putin

U.S. Marines Land in Odessa, Ukraine

In the framework of the multinational military exercise Sea Breeze, on Wednesday, July 27th, soldiers of the US Marines landed on one of the beaches in the Odessa region. 

This was reported by “Ukraine Press“. The Marines practiced disembarkation from a landing ship near the village of Lebedivka. The Americans were able to land on one of the beaches, after locals were asked to leave. The website adds that law and order was overseen by the soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine.

The naval exercise Sea Breeze-2016 was conducted from 18th to 30th July in the Odessa and Nikolaev areas. The maneuvers involved 25 warships and boats of the naval forces of Ukraine, US, Romania, and Turkey. It also involved aircraft.

Why Does the U.S. Have the Right to Steal Our Lands?

We spent the day getting a tour of the perimeter of the US's Army base called Camp Humphreys and the Osan Air Force Base - both in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.  Both bases have been undergoing a dramatic expansion in recent years which is largely (about 90%) being paid for by the South Korean people.

As part of the Obama/Hillary Clinton 'pivot' of US military forces into the Asia-Pacific more airfields, more barracks and more ports-of call for Navy warships are needed.  Thus at Camp Humphreys and Osan AFB (about 23 kilometers apart) they are building new airfields, barracks, munitions storage areas, training grounds, administration buildings and more.  Once completed about 45,000 US troops will be stationed at the Army base.  Essentially a massive city is being developed to handle this huge US military operation.

In order to satisfy the Pentagon's ravenous appetite for more land around these two bases several farming villages had to be destroyed. The lands were stolen from the peasant farmers who grew rice and who had years ago turned these wet lands into productive fields.

When we arrived yesterday we were taken to the Pyeongtaek Peace Center which was built by the residents of one of those destroyed villages who acquired new land and built a community where each house today is outfitted with solar panels. Their front and back yards are planted with red peppers, veggies and fruit trees.

First thing this morning we were taken from the peace center, where we spent the night in second floor guest rooms, to a peace museum on the other side of the village.  The photo above is a sculpture that sits in the center of the museum representing the former lives of the villagers and their intense multi-year non-violent struggle to save their way of life.  In the end they were defeated but we were told that the Pyeongtaek struggle was a milestone in creating a new way of resistance in South Korea where art and non-violent struggle came together to inspire future movements like we have seen more recently on Jeju Island.

Included in this wonderful sculpture are not only a bunch of farm implements, all mounted on a tractor, but also sound systems, microphones (arranged as tears hanging from the piece), flags and banners.   Photos hanging on the walls depicted the fierce struggle which at one point saw as many as 10,000 police brought into their village on a single day in order to drive away the villagers and their supporters who had come from around the country to help defend them.

This photo below struck a chord in me as it depicts farmers putting messages and other valuables into a large pot that was buried under the ground to be dug up some day in the future when the US military empire finally collapses and the people may again return to their beloved lands.

US citizens have become cold-hearted about the people around the world that 'our government' kills or steals land from for the Pentagon's 1,000 imperial war bases.  But this trip has already reenforced for me the hard truth that US bases come at a huge cost to people who are violently forced to move in order for their puppet governments to hand over ownership to the US.  And as we now see in South Korea, the insult is a double one as the people here have to help pay for the building of the bases on the stolen lands.

One of the leaders of this village currently has to drive about an hour to the only land he could afford to purchase to restart his rice growing operation.  Many of the villagers could not afford to purchase new fields or were too old to restart their lives.  They now essentially live without income.

This blatantly unfair system of US control and domination of South Korea, and other countries facing a similar fate, must end. 

The people around the world are not holding their breath though - they know that the American people are largely arrogant and self possessed.  They do appreciate deeply those of us working for peace but they wish we'd be bolder in confronting our own corporate oligarchic structures.

Try looking into the eyes of deeply depressed and heart broken farmers who ask why does the US think they have the right to take what ever they want. 

We must all play a role in helping to remove the American military boot firmly placed on the necks of innocent people around the globe. 


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Can You Imagine?

First we bomb them, then we blame them.

A short film about the humanitarian consequences of the political crisis.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

It's all about the $$$$$$$$

Of course the Democratic Party will blame the Russians - it's all their fault!

Any doubt who really runs America? It's the corporate oligarchy and their big bucks. It does not matter whether the prez is Hillary or Trump - the country is run by the bankster pirates, fossil fuel companies, the drug corporations, the military industrial complex, the corporate controlled media and the like. This election is a scripted three-ring circus sideshow.

We need to send the nation a message by voting outside the box this time around. Anything else is just complicity with the corrupt sideshow.


Funeral for the Devil & His Weapon

Seongju, South Korea residents’ funeral ceremony for the conservative Saenuri Party.

Seongju has historically voted for the Saenuri Party in their elections.  But since the ruling Saenuri Party's slavish decision to accept the US demand to deploy the THAAD 'missile defense' system in their community they have buried that relationship.

A recent national poll reveals that:

  • 53.1%: support reconsidering or rescinding the decision of deployment of US THAAD in South Korea.
  • 60.2%: believes that the United States forced the decision of deployment of US THAAD on Korea. Korea surrendered to the US pressure.
  • President Park Geun-hye's (daughter of former South Korean US puppet) approval rate sank to the lowest: below 30% and some voters calling for an impeachment.
1000 Korean scholars, experts, researchers, lawmakers, diplomats and distinguished citizen held a press conference against the US THAAD in front of Korean National Assembly.

Not Forgetting Japan's Treatment of Korean Sexual Slaves

Yesterday the three of us in our VFP (Veterans For Peace) delegation to Korea attended the weekly protest of the 'comfort women' across the street from the Japanese embassy in Seoul.  There was a large crowd of mostly high school and college students who were protesting the Japanese abduction of 200,000 Korean women during WW II when the young girls were used as sexual slaves for their troops across the Asia-Pacific.

Today only 40 of these women are still alive but they continue to demand a public apology from the Japanese government, appropriate compensation and an end to Tokyo's campaign to rewrite their sordid history in the textbooks of Japanese students.

In the video I describe the US's attempts to get Japan and South Korea to sweep this issue under the rug in order to facilitate the 'Tri-lateral military alliance' between the three countries that would be aimed at China.  Some time ago a 'deal' was struck by Japan and South Korea on this but the women rejected it, demanding that they be directly involved in any negotiations to resolve this sad story

So far the US strategy ain't working as you can see by the size of the crowd.

We also visited a museum on this subject that was full of Korean students.  The organizations supporting the 'grandmas' are doing a great job keeping this issue alive.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Arrived in South Korea - Two Delegation Members Denied Entry

VFP members Will Griffin (left) and Ken Jones (right) and I celebrate our successful entry into South Korea late last night

It was a time of conflicted feelings last night when Ken Jones (North Carolina) and I made it into South Korea and were met by Will Griffin (San Diego) who had arrived here in May.  Sadly our two Korean-American friends Hyun Lee and Juyeon Rhee were denied entry into South Korea.  They were put on a plane and sent back to the US.  Hyun and Juyeon, both who live in the New York City area, were to be our guides and translators during our three-week trip to Korea.  They help coordinate the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea in the US.

We believe the reason they were denied entry into the nation of their birth is because they are very active critics of the South Korean government's corporate policies that slavishly follow directions from Washington.  In particular they have helped create the organizational effort in the US to have Korean-Americans support progressive people here who have long been organizing to take their country back from the right-wing forces that now control South Korea.  Hyun and Juyeon have also helped launch Zoom Korea, an Independent news blog that provides critical and undistorted news and analysis of the fight for democracy, peace, and reunification on the Korean peninsula.  You can see the blog here

In particular Hyun and Juyeon have been supporting the growing movement in South Korea to oppose the recently announced US plan to deploy the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) 'missile defense' (MD) system in the center of the country.  If anyone had any doubt this issue is huge here just take a look at the headline in the Korea Times newspaper that we were handed on our airplane ride last night from Tokyo to Seoul.  

It is obvious to me that Hyun and Juyeon were not allowed into South Korea because they are in the middle of this fight.  Frankly I was surprised that I got into the country but I suppose I am not nearly as visible to the Korean government as the two Korean-American women are.  They speak the language and have the organizational capability to reach out to millions of Korean-Americans on this THAAD issue.

We were met at the airport last night by a South Korean activist who got us on a bus and into the heart of Seoul to our hotel.  The folks here are now working hard to fill the holes that were created when our two guides/translators were blocked entry into the country.

Will Griffin (an Afghanistan and Iraq war veteran), Ken Jones (VFP member in Asheville) and I make up this Veterans For Peace delegation that will be touring the country during these coming weeks.  We'll also go to Jeju Island during this trip to stand with the people of Gangjeong village who remain in opposition to the Navy base that has torn apart their small fishing and farming village.

American Navy personnel were recently spotted at the new Navy base in the village and it is just a matter of time before the first US warships enter Gangjeong waters as part of the 'pivot' of 60% of US military forces into the region.  Hillary Clinton, during her time as Secretary of State, was the author of the 'pivot' strategy which requires more ports of call for warships, more airfields for Pentagon war planes, and more barracks for US troops in places like Hawaii, Guam, Australia, Okinawa, Japan, Philippines, and South Korea.

In the Korea Times article shown above Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi renewed Beijing's strong opposition toward the US setting up the THAAD battery.  He said the US deployment in South Korea, "has undermined the foundations of trust between the two countries."

Just like the US deployments of 'missile defense' along the Russian borders, the ever increasingly deployments of MD now encircling China are major provocations by the US against peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific.  During this visit our delegation will be standing with the growing numbers of people in South Korea who oppose these dangerous US policies.  I hope to be able to share their voices with those who read this blog.


Monday, July 25, 2016

VFP in Philly Outside DNC

Destabilizing Nature of 'Missile Defense'

The story is true - soon after he stole the 2002 election George W. Bush pulled the US out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with Russia.

The treaty made sure that neither side would build 'missile defense' (MD) systems which are destabilizing and provocative and give one side a first-strike advantage over the other.

These days the Pentagon is encircling Russia and China with MD - escalating an already out of control arms race.  Add to that NATO expansion right up to Russia's borders and the US-NATO are playing with fire.

The constant demonization of Putin and Russia by the west make our people unable to hear the rational warnings coming from Putin.  Sadly the minds of most people in the US have been colonized by this demonization process - even many peaceniks have had their heads filled with mush making them afraid to be labeled 'Putinized' if they pay any attention to the words from Moscow.  Very sad indeed.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Counter-Dialogue Needed Now More Than Ever

Dr. Cornel West discusses Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump during the recent Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

There is an attempt to get Cornel West to sign on as Jill Stein's vice-president pick in the Green Party.  You can sign a petition urging him to do so here.

Be Bold

Aid to the People of Eastern Ukraine

The US-NATO puppet regime in Kiev has resumed its blitzkrieg of the people in eastern Ukraine (Donbass).

The plan is still to attempt to draw Russia into overt defense of the people in Donbass.  At this point Russia is giving diplomatic, military aid, and humanitarian aid to the suffering people in Donbass.  But the US-NATO war project will not rest until they can force Russia into crossing their border to defend the Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine.

The US-NATO must justify their current steroidal expansion of the 'military alliance' up to the Russian border.  So far Moscow has been smart and not given Washington-Brussels what they want.  But as the US-NATO funded and trained Nazi forces increase their daily attacks on the people in Donbass at some point Russia just might determine that they have no other choice than to intervene to stop the blood bath.  The US-NATO will howl like a wounded animal.

The timing of these attacks on Donbass is interesting to me - right at the time that America is spending much energy focused on the corporate run Republican and Democrat conventions.  People here are distracted and the oligarchy picks that as the moment to resume to attacks on Donbass.


Teacher Struggle in Mexico

Sunday Song

Saturday, July 23, 2016

VFP Statement on Pentagon THAAD Deployment in South Korea

Click on the letter for a better view.....thanks to the board of Veterans For Peace for approving this statement.

Clinton Picks Tim Kaine from Virginia

Could Hillary Be Any Worse? Sure, Add Tim Kaine to the Ticket

By David Swanson

Tim Kaine has been consistently ranked as one of the least progressive Democrats in the U.S. Senate. Adding him to the Hillary Clinton ticket would be a kick in the face to Bernie Sanders supporters holding out hopeless hope for some sign of democracy within the Democratic Party.

Kaine was an anti-environmentalist pro-coal governor of Virginia, a supporter of the "right to work" (for less) law restricting union organizing in Virginia, and he is a supporter of corporate trade agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and including fast-tracking the TPP. An extremely loyal Democrat, he nonetheless criticized Democrats in 2011 for proposing higher taxes on millionaires.

Kaine is the anti-Bernie Sanders on policy and on process. He takes his direction from those in power, not from the public. In a poll of over 250 Sanders delegates to the Democratic National Convention (by the Bernie Delegate Network), only 2.7% of them said they thought Kaine would be an acceptable vice presidential nominee.

The bulk of what the U.S. government does, financially and in terms of work hours, is wage wars and move troops and weapons around the world. That whole topic, and even the existence of 96% of humanity, is largely absent from election campaigns. Yet war may be the one spot where people hunt for something more progressive than Hillary Clinton in Kaine's record.

Kaine supported a nuclear agreement with Iran, a diplomatic breakthrough arguably made possible by the departure of supreme militarist Clinton from the State Department. But Kaine backed President Barack Obama on that, as on everything else. To imagine that Kaine has challenged presidential war powers is to misread another part of his record.

Together with Senator John McCain, Kaine introduced the War Powers Consultation Act of 2014, which some falsely imagined to be a bill to strengthen Congressional war powers. It was not. The Constitution gives the power to declare war to Congress. The War Powers Resolution requires a president who launches a war on his/her own to notify Congress within 48 hours and to end it within 60 days unless Congress authorizes it. The McCain/Kaine bill would repeal the War Powers Resolution, turn Congress into a toothless consulting firm, and arrange for a vote without consequences on "approval" of each war within 30 days of its start. Only if Congress voted down "approval" would it vote on "disapproval." And if it passed "disapproval," nothing would follow from that. This amounts to nothing less than unconstitutionally bestowing the power to make war on the president.

The idea behind this "reform" is to take a Congress fully committed to allowing and funding every war, and compel it to also formally express its approval, thus strengthening the president's position. Kaine has thus pushed for a Congressional vote, a Yes vote, on authorizing a war on ISIS. He's expressed his view that President Obama lacks authorization. But Kaine has not put a hold on funding bills, has not forced a vote under the War Powers Resolution, has not introduced legislation to deny funding, has not introduced censure or suggested impeachment. He does not object to Obama's wars, he just wants Congress to clearly and publicly back them, so that the president is not the only one sticking his neck out.

Kaine has proposed authorizing air strikes but not ground troops, or at least he did before there were so many ground troops involved. And he's expressed awareness that some measures can be counterproductive. But his top commitment, followed most consistently, has been loyalty to the Obama White House. A shift to loyal obedience to a Clinton White House would not require much of Tim Kaine. He might have a few more wars to urge Congress to support, but it seems unlikely Kaine would deem that much of an inconvenience.

~ David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio.  Swanson lives in Virginia.        

Friday, July 22, 2016

U.S. Pressures Japan to Remove Protest Camp in Northern Okinawa

Last December when our Veterans for Peace delegation went to Okinawa we visited several areas where the US is expanding bases and military training grounds.

One such area was in the northern part of the island called Takae where Camp Gonsalves, a.k.a Northern Training Area, of US Marine Corps is located.  Helipads for Army Osprey choppers are being expanded in the forested area that will surely impact the people, plants, animals, and fresh water.

It is a sparsely populated area but the local people have maintained vigil there daily and parked their cars in front of the gates to the training area.  In recent days the Japanese government, under pressure from the US military, sent in 1,000 police to remove the protest encampment.

As they were removing the people and the cars the police hit one of the protesting women in the face.  So it is clear that the government is now moving to get rough with the protests that have successfully slowed down the base expansion process.

All of this US military expansion throughout the Asia-Pacific is aimed at surrounding China and Russia in order to make it possible for the US agenda that calls for regime change in Beijing and Moscow.


South Korea Labels 'Missile Defense' Critics as 'Impure' Enemies of the State

  • More than 2,000 Seongju (South Korea) residents - melon farmers, housewives, teachers, city councils, Martial Arts masters, veterans, etc.-- took 50 buses, traveled to Seoul and held a peaceful rally at Seoul Station Plaza yesterday, articulating their opposition to the deployment of the US THAAD 'missile defense' system.
  • The situation will get even worse for the people of Seongju as President Park Geun-hye (daughter of former dictator and US puppet who got his start as a collaborator with the occupying Japanese imperial Army during WW II) yesterday ordered to identify and root out all “impure” people. The residents in Seongju who had voted for President Park Geun-hye enthusiastically are now identified as “impure” enemies of the state. The Prime Minister (who just days ago was egged by the people of Seongju) pledged to follow President Park's order by finding and punishing the "impure" enemies.
  • Elderly residents from Seongju were unable to suppress their frustration. “Seongju adores Park Geun-hye, [but now] I want to cut off the finger I voted for her with. I mean it!” said one.
  • Mary Beth and I made it home from Toronto about 1:00 am last night after a 13-hour drive back to Bath.  I was asked to speak about Keep Space for Peace Week (October 1-8) before leaving the Toronto conference.  I was handed the tear-off portion of our space week flyer from a person committing to organize an event in Caracas, Venezuela during the week of global local actions.  The annual week of protest against the militarization of space has taken place each year since 2001.
  • A couple of days ago I also heard from activists in Sicily who said they planned to translate our space week poster into Italian and will hold a space week protest at the new US MUOS space directed warfare communications base near Niscemi.  You can see the space week poster here

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Selling a Coup to the Unsuspecting Public

Watch this Newsbud Call to Action presentation with Sibel Edmonds and Spiro Skouras exposing MSNBC-NBC-Pentagon joint disinformation operation during the critical early hours of the Turkey Coup Attempt.

They share the documentation and timeline illustrating the implementation of psychological warfare tactics packaged by the Pentagon, and brought to you and marketed by US media outlets.

Sibel Edmonds is the founder and president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers.

Ms. Edmonds worked as a language specialist for the FBI’s Washington Field Office. During her work with the bureau, she discovered and reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security implications. After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was retaliated against and ultimately fired in March 2002. 

This is America

A therapist who works with people with disabilities is telling his story after he said police shot him while he was trying to help his patient with autism.

Cellphone video was released Wednesday afternoon showing Charles Kinsey lying on the ground with his hands in the air, telling officers that weapons are not necessary. “When I went to the ground, I went to the ground with my hands up,” Kinsey said, “and I am laying there just like this. Telling them again there is no need for firearms. He is autistic. He has a toy truck in his hand.”

In his hospital bed and wearing bandages, Kinsey said, he was attempting to calm an autistic patient who ran away from a group home. Kinsey could be heard in the video saying, “All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Inside Report from Cleveland

In Toronto for Peace Confab

Mary Beth and I arrived in Toronto, Canada last night after a hard 12-hour drive from Maine.  The first part - on the country back roads through the scenic mountains and fields of western Maine, New Hampshire and northern Vermont were lovely.  The early parts of Canada, the rolling fields of corn and hay were also quite precious.  Once we hit the super highway west to Ontario the drive turned to drudgery.  But we made it safe and sound and found the youth hostel where conference members are staying.

This morning we attend the two-day conference made up of members of the Canadian, US and Mexican Peace Councils.  (Activists also here from Cuba, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Greece.) I will talk about the sad but very real subject of Pentagon 'Full spectrum dominance' and the implications for world peace - which as you can imagine are quite horrid.

Full spectrum dominance means controlling 'conflict' at every level - on the ground, the oceans, the air and in space.  The US Space Command says it will be the 'Master of Space' and utilize space-directed warfare to control the planet below on behalf of corporate globalization.

The pirates have gone high-tech and intend to use this technology for their benefit.  The aerospace industry brags that 'Star Wars' will be the largest industrial project in human history costing big $$$$$$.  They intend to pay for it by cutting 'entitlement programs' which officially in the US are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and what is left of the welfare program after Bill Clinton got finished with it.

We've got our work cut out for us but I am encouraged by the recent protests in South Korea opposing US deployments of THAAD 'missile defense' systems.  In a very conservative community in the center of the country, the melon growing farmers of Seongju pelted their Prime Minister with eggs and water bottles and held his car up for six hours in utter disgust with the government's slavish subservience to the US military agenda.

This example of outraged citizen action shows that things can change rather quickly when people feel their very existence is at stake.

As an organizer it is my job to keep working the fertile soil and to help people make this transition from fear into action.  My hope is that this conference in Toronto brings us a step closer to a real global movement for peace.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Organizing to Stop U.S. 'Missile Defense' Deployments

Last night I participated in a conference call with 18 other activists from South Korea, Japan, and across the US.  We were talking about the swirling controversy in South Korea since the recent announcement by the US that the Pentagon will deploy the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) 'missile defense' (MD) system in the center of their country.

I was asked to give some background on the provocative US MD program that is now being deployed by the US military surrounding Russia and China.

Under the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty that the US had with Russia these destabilizing MD systems were not allowed.  When George W. Bush became president he withdrew from the treaty and the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency has been on steroids ever since.

Theodore Postol, ex-US Chief of Naval Operations science advisor and emeritus professor of science, technology and security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says the following about these systems:

  • The THAAD system was designed from its beginning to provide cuing information to the US national missile defense program.
  • Would track information on Chinese intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) prior to their ascending over the curved earth-horizon before being picked up by US national missile defense radars in Alaska.
  • The THAAD is incapable of accomplishing its professed objective of intercepting North Korean missiles targeted at South Korea because those missiles would not reach the higher altitude that THAAD is designed to protect.  South Korean targets are too close to the north and the incoming missiles would not reach high enough for THAAD to intercept them.
  • THAAD will increase tensions between China and Japan. Japan already has two THAAD radars and a THAAD battery is deployed in Guam.  THAAD in South Korea could also help track Russian missiles.

THAAD’s electro-magnetic radar (which poses worrisome health consequences for the local populations) can identify even a baseball that is within in 1-2,000 km, which means that it reaches from the west sea of Korea all the way to China which is within 1,000 km from South Korea.  In other words, China will be within the THAAD’s radar field.  This is why Russia and China strongly oppose THAAD and have stated that military counter-measures will be necessary.  THAAD increases the threat of war in Northeast Asia.

Cost: A single battery costs over $1 billion.  A THAAD Battery consists of six truck-mounted launchers, 48 interceptors (8 per launcher), a THAAD Fire Control and Communications unit, and one radar (the world's most advanced mobile radar).

Early tomorrow morning Mary Beth and I drive to Toronto, Canada for a conference of Canadian, US, and Mexican Peace Council members.  I've been asked to speak about these issues and to talk more about Keep Space for Peace Week (October 1-8).  Our theme this year is Chokehold on Russia and China: Why is the US provoking global war?  You can see our space week poster and flyer here

Russia and China have been warning the world for several years that US deployments of MD systems will make it impossible for them to participate in any serious negotiations to get rid of nuclear weapons.  Because MD systems are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning (they could pick off Russian or Chinese nuclear retaliatory launches after a US first-strike) neither of the two nations can afford to reduce their nuclear retaliatory capability.

Russia, China, and North Korea have all declared they would never launch a first-strike attack.  The US refuses to make a similar pledge.

In addition to THAAD the Pentagon is presently deploying several other MD systems - the Ground-based Mid-Course system in Alaska, California, and likely soon at a site in either Ohio, Michigan, or New York.  Also now being deployed near Russian and Chinese borders are the PAC-3 (Patriot third generation) MD systems and on Navy Aegis destroyers are the SM-3 (Standard Missile 3) interceptors that have shown the best testing results.

All together the Pentagon is developing a multi-layered MD program that raises the stakes for Russia and China.

After witnessing the 2003 US 'shock and awe' first-strike attack against Iraq, other nations now must consider that they too could be attacked by the Pentagon which claims that it must establish "full spectrum dominance" around the world on behalf of corporate globalization.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bonus Track

In preparation for the annual peace walk around Jeju Island, South Korea from August 1-6.

Sunday Song

Saturday, July 16, 2016

To the Streets in Argentina

Thousands of Argentines took to streets, banging pots and pans to reject skyrocketing hikes in the cost of public services implemented by the government of Mauricio Macri.

Zumwalt 12 Vow to Take Arrests to Trial

Zumwalt 12 Head to Arraignment on August 2 
for BIW ‘Christening’ Arrests

Vow to Take the Case to Trial

The Zumwalt 12, arrested at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Maine on June 18, were charged with ‘Obstructing a public way’ and will appear in West Bath District Court at 1:00 pm on August 2.

The Zumwalt 12 intends to plead not guilty and will seek a unified trial.  Bar Harbor attorney Lynne Williams will represent the group.

According to Zumwalt 12 member Connie Jenkins (Orono), “We felt we were carrying out our responsibility as citizens to use the first amendment to speak against expensive and provocative US endless wars.  As we can see from the recent “Chilcot investigation” in the UK, that found the legal justifications for military action were far from satisfactory, we in the US have a legal and moral responsibility to stand against these wars – and to prevent the next ones.”

John Morris (New Gloucester) also a member of the Zumwalt 12 said, “We will seek a unified trial so that we can communicate with the greater community why we did what we did at BIW on June 18.  These arrests for non-violent civil disobedience carry on the long tradition of such actions at the shipyard.  We want to see BIW converted to build commuter rail systems, solar, wind, and tidal power which are urgently needed to help us deal with climate change.  We have taken these steps in order that our children and grandchildren can have a real future.”

Arrested at BIW on June 18 were: Richard Lethem, 83 of Bath; Dud Hendrick, 74 of Deer Isle; Bruce Gagnon, 64, of Bath; Russell Wray, 61, of Hancock; Tarak Kauff, 74, of Woodstock, NY; Joan Peck, 69, of Brunswick; George Ostensen, 61, of Hope; Jason Rawn, 42, of Lincolnville; Cynthia Howard, 69, of Biddeford; Constance Jenkins, 68, of Orono; John Morris, 79, of New Gloucester; and John Peck, 75, of Brunswick.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Citizens Revolt in South Korea

Yonhap News reports:

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn visited the town of Seongju, which was tapped as the site for the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system, on Friday, in the face of strong opposition from the residents who questioned the safety and legitimacy of the government's decision.

 The trip is seen as a move to alleviate concerns that residents may have about the health issues related to the missile system's powerful radar and questions raised about the fairness of the government's decision-making process.

   "I would like to apologize for making the decision without prior notice," Hwang said during his visit, adding that the government will make efforts to ease residents' concerns over the safety.

   During his visit, however, protesters threw water bottles and eggs at Hwang, reflecting their anger over the deployment.

   The prime minister was blocked by resentful residents and physically barred from leaving the county for more than six hours.  

There is a real revolt going on in South Korea.  The US is forcing the South Korean government to deploy THAAD 'missile offense' launchers and the people know that it makes them a prime target.  (Even worse the US wants South Korea to pay for the US missile deployments.) Koreans can see the provocative steps the US is taking in the region against China and they know how crazy the leadership in the US actually is.  They've been through one war involving the US already and are not interested in another.

I've long said that the Koreans are the best organizers I've ever had the pleasure to work with.  Right now they have a national campaign underway to resist these THAAD deployments that are aimed at China even though the Pentagon tells everyone they are intended for North Korea.  It's the same shell game the US does with the missile offense deployments now going into Romania, Poland, and Turkey - all aimed at Russia.  The US says they are aimed at Iran who actually has no nuclear weapons.

The shine has come off the American coin and the world ain't buying the script anymore.  Sadly there is still half the population in the US that believes the official Washington line (including far too many 'liberals' who support Hillary Clinton).

The world is turning against corporate control of the planet.  We are in for a rough patch ahead.  The story today about a coup d'etat in Turkey possibly indicates the CIA's operatives inside the Turkish military have tried to take down President Erdogan because in recent days he dared to apologize to Russia for shooting down their plane and began to alter his war stance with Syria.  My initial reaction is that US-NATO were not happy with that change of tune and decided to take Erdogan out.  More on that one as things develop.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Update on Peace Procession in Ukraine

Earlier in the week I shared a video about the huge peace and love procession heading from eastern Ukraine toward the capital in Kiev.  They are being harassed by the Nazis in Ukraine that are funded, armed and trained by the US.

Now I've learned that another leg of the peace procession began walking from western Ukraine also toward Kiev where the two groups will meet.

This is very special and if anything can save Ukraine from more civil war it is peaceful efforts like this.  We need to see more of this everywhere.

On July 25 I head to Korea where I will join the annual peace walk around Jeju Island which will begin on August 1.  They too will head east and west and have the two different groups meet at the end.

Peace is spreading despite the attempts of the neo-con endless war mongers.  Keep the spirit alive!


'We are Called to be Peacemakers'

The latest edition of This Issue features two members of the Zumwalt 12 who were arrested at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Maine on June 18 when they blocked a shipyard road and gate prior to the ‘christening’ of a new Zumwalt ‘stealth’ destroyer that will be aimed at China.
Poet and Jungian analyst John Peck (Brunswick) and nurse practitioner and psychotherapist Connie Jenkins (Orono) describe their motivations for risking arrest at the shipyard.

South Koreans Ignore Demands to Stop 'Useless Protest' against U.S. Missile Deployments

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has ordered the nation, "Stop the useless discussions on the US THAAD" missile defense (MD) deployment.

Korean citizens led by the major political party leaders, and most importantly local residents, are responding: "Democracy is not useless but the US THAAD might!"  They demand a democratic process from both the Korean and American governments.

The deployment decision was made unilaterally without any explanation, discussion, and consultation. In other words, this issue is not just about the offensive US THAAD in the heart of Northeast Asia that threatens regional security; it is very much about the South Korean President’s and the US Army’s shameful disregard of its neighbors (China, Russia), Korea’s democracy and especially the residents in Seongju.

Please respect and protect democracy in Korea. Support the local residents—children, parents, city councils, teachers, farmers, and the elderly in Seongju City, Gyungbook-Taegu region, who are demanding a reasonable and respectful process of addressing this issue.

U.S. Anti-missile Plans with South Korea Spark Fresh Backlash

“You can't make a unilateral decision like this when about half of Seongju residents live within two kilometers of where THAAD is to be stationed”, said Bae Jae-man, a local council speaker.

Locals pen letters in blood to protest U.S. missile defense site

Seongju is a town of 45,000 people, many of them grow yellow melons for a living. South Korean media reported the THAAD system will be placed on a mountain where a South Korea air defense artillery unit is based. About 200 Seongju residents made a protest visit to Seoul's Defense Ministry on Wednesday.

The Pentagon maintains they need the THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system to protect against North Korean missiles.  But experts maintain that the system (already deployed in Guam and Japan) is actually aimed at and would be used against China and Russia.  THAAD is just one of several varieties of MD now being deployed by the US as it encircles China and Russia.

MD systems are key elements in US first-strike attack planning.  After the US launches a first-strike aimed at Russian or Chinese nuclear forces the MD systems would 'pick off' any retaliatory strikes that might be fired.  The US Space Command annually war games such a US first-strike against Russia and China.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

NBA Stars Speak Out

Getting Beyond Our Mental Colonization

I was out walking today and stopped in at a local shop for some things I needed.  I had an excellent (eye to eye) talk with the shopkeeper about the US killing enterprise and climate change.  The man gets it.  He is praying that the public quickly wakes up.

We know we are fed a pack of lies - but we still keep listening to the Big Machine.  Our minds get colonized and we become filled with fear. We like to be comfortable - avoid conflict - and who wants to fight the system anyway?  Can't we all just get along?

I told the shop keeper (with two others waiting in line for me to finish my biz) that the US was crazy.  We can't even beat Afghanistan and we want to take on Russia and China?!

But the US has not really been interested in 'beating' Afghanistan - the Pentagon always wanted to occupy Afghanistan and all of Central Asia - similar to Korea and Europe since those wars.  The empire in action.

On the way home I was thinking about all the lies I hear each day on NPR about Syria and Russia.  I practically ran to the computer so I could share this excellent story on Syria by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. called Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria: They don’t hate ‘our freedoms.’ They hate that we’ve betrayed our ideals in their own countries — for oil. 

Instead it [the US-NATO decision to go for regime change in Syria] began in 2000, when Qatar proposed to construct a $10 billion, 1,500 kilometer pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. Qatar shares with Iran the South Pars/North Dome gas field, the world’s richest natural gas repository. The international trade embargo until recently prohibited Iran from selling gas abroad. Meanwhile, Qatar’s gas can reach European markets only if it is liquefied and shipped by sea, a route that restricts volume and dramatically raises costs. The proposed pipeline would have linked Qatar directly to European energy markets via distribution terminals in Turkey, which would pocket rich transit fees. The Qatar/Turkey pipeline would give the Sunni kingdoms of the Persian Gulf decisive domination of world natural gas markets and strengthen Qatar, America’s closest ally in the Arab world. Qatar hosts two massive American military bases and the U.S. Central Command’s Mideast headquarters.

Of course, the Russians, who sell 70 percent of their gas exports to Europe, viewed the Qatar/Turkey pipeline as an existential threat. In Putin’s view, the Qatar pipeline is a NATO plot to change the status quo, deprive Russia of its only foothold in the Middle East, strangle the Russian economy and end Russian leverage in the European energy market. In 2009, Assad announced that he would refuse to sign the agreement to allow the pipeline to run through Syria “to protect the interests of our Russian ally.”

Assad further enraged the Gulf’s Sunni monarchs by endorsing a Russian-approved “Islamic pipeline” running from Iran’s side of the gas field through Syria and to the ports of Lebanon. The Islamic pipeline would make Shiite Iran, not Sunni Qatar, the principal supplier to the European energy market and dramatically increase Tehran’s influence in the Middle East and the world. Israel also was understandably determined to derail the Islamic pipeline, which would enrich Iran and Syria and presumably strengthen their proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria. It is important to note that this was well before the Arab Spring-engendered uprising against Assad.
Zbigniew Brzezinski was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1928, the son of a diplomat posted to Canada in 1938. In the private sector, Brzezinski serves as an international advisor of several major US/global corporations. Brzezinski's career with the US government spans several presidents, most notable is his time as National Security Adviser for President Jimmy Carter.  (Brzezinski will always be known as the father of the plan to arm the Afghan Taliban terrorists in order to drive the former Soviet Union out of that country and region.) He also made sure to embed his strategic thinking by serving as co-chair of George Herbert Walker Bush's National Security Advisory Task Force (1988).

In his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski wrote, “Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.”

Brzezinski wrote that the US must dominate Eurasia in order to control the world.  He said his plan would be an expensive long-term military occupation that the American people were not likely to support without a Pearl Harbor like incident to galvanize their thinking and emotions.  'Lucky for them' 9-11 just happens to come along and the rest is history.

Brzezinski was the man to identify Obama at Columbia University and bring him to the oligarchy for consideration as future White House material.  Obama's coronation was long in the works.  Just before Obama's first election Brzezinski was quoted in a British publication saying, "I vetted Obama early on."  The oligarchy years ago determined that they needed more candidates of color, under their control, if they hoped to stay in power as the American population soon becomes majority black and Hispanic.

Brzezinski wrote:

In that context, how America 'manages' Eurasia is critical. Eurasia is the globe's largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. About 75 per cent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world's GNP and about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources.

So Syria and Russia are in the way of Brzezinski's grand vision.  They both must be taken down even if that means the final war. You can see for yourself how things are stacking up these days.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Turkey's Contradictory Role

Vijay Prashad explains how will the recent ISIS terror attack at the Ataturk international airport might affect Turkey's relations in the region, and also discusses Turkey's ambiguous position regarding Russia and the insurgency in Syria - Newsclick and TRNN Joint Productio.

Sheep Dogging for Hillary

Bernie Sanders joined Hillary Clinton today in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to declare his support for her candidacy for president.  It's a sad day in America to see this sell out of the 'revolution' he kept talking about during his recent campaign.

You don't create revolution by turning around and supporting the candidate of the banksters, the military industrial complex, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical corporations, the fossil fuel industry, the corporate media and the rest of the pirate class.

One key reason Sanders did not get the nomination from his party is because Clinton's forces CHEATED repeatedly to steal votes in primary states.  Arizona, New York and California were just three examples of systematic voter suppression and vote count manipulation that occurred throughout the Democratic Party primary season.

Early on in this process many on the left claimed that Sanders was sheep dogging for Clinton - helping to round up young people to be moved into her campaign after the senator from Vermont was properly dispatched.  I think this has turned out to be true.

What did Sanders get in return for his support for Hillary?  He got a couple planks added to the party platform (while failing to get any real action on the bigger issues like TPP, Palestine, fracking).  In the end Clinton will be free to ignore these platform planks and once president she'll be free to back-track on any other progressive positions she might take during the campaign against Donald Trump.

I still maintain that Trump running for the Republican nomination was a scripted part of this whole three-ring circus electoral side show.  The fact that Bill Clinton called Trump just days before he declared for the Republican nomination race and was "encouraging" leaves me no doubt that this has been a staged event from the start.  The Washington Post coverage of that call from Clinton to Trump can be seen here.

There will be legions of Sanders supporters who now feel betrayed by his endorsement of Clinton.  The little bit of hope he gave young people who face multiple challenges (climate change, lack of jobs, college debt, endless war costs) has been completely erased as Clinton stands against serious resolution of all these issues.

Sanders could have been a transformative figure during this historical moment that is ripe for change.  He walked up to the edge of real revolutionary leadership and backed down.  Sanders slinked back into the waiting arms of the corporate oligarchy that funds and directs the Clinton campaign.  Sanders will be used to sheep dog his remaining supporters into the Hillary camp and after Clinton moves into the White House he will be a forgotten figure.

It's indeed a sad thing to watch - but anyone with their eyes really open should have seen it coming.